John Osborne's Look Back in Anger

Text of the Day: Johnny makes a point

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Quotes by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

Random and topical thoughts and quotes gathered by My Theatre Mates contributor Aleks Sierz, first published on www.sierz.co.uk. One from the archives…

John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger (Royal Court, 1956) is today seen as an example of the work of an Angry Young Man and of serious kitchen-sink drama. But its author had other ideas:

“We had one preview night, nearly unknown then when stars would be expected to clean up automatically for weeks in the provinces before descending on the West End. [Royal Court Artistic Director] George [Devine] and Tony [Richardson, director of Look Back in Anger] were baffled by the persistent laughter. When the third act opened to discover Helena drooped over Alison’s ironing board, no one could ignore the cheers that applauded the ironing-board’s performance. ‘But why do you think they’re laughing so much?’ asked Tony, alarmed. ‘Because it’s supposed to be funny,’ I replied” – John Osborne, Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise (2004)

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Aleks Sierz
Aleks Sierz FRSA is a theatre critic, and author of the seminal study of new 1990s playwrights, In-Yer-Face Theatre. His other books include Rewriting the Nation, The Theatre of Martin Crimp, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights and Modern British Playwriting. His latest book (co-authored with Lia Ghilardi) is The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre. He also works as a journalist, broadcaster, and lecturer. Aleks blogs independently at www.sierz.co.uk and tweets at @alekssierz.
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Aleks Sierz on RssAleks Sierz on Twitter
Aleks Sierz
Aleks Sierz FRSA is a theatre critic, and author of the seminal study of new 1990s playwrights, In-Yer-Face Theatre. His other books include Rewriting the Nation, The Theatre of Martin Crimp, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights and Modern British Playwriting. His latest book (co-authored with Lia Ghilardi) is The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre. He also works as a journalist, broadcaster, and lecturer. Aleks blogs independently at www.sierz.co.uk and tweets at @alekssierz.

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